A Balance Sheet for Online Accounting
Business Finance (07/00) Vol. 6, No. 7 p.75; McKie, Stewart

Online accounting is spawning a whole new way of managing small-business finance. Companies can now subscribe to a Web-based accounting service instead of buying a software package at the store. The accounting program runs through the company's service provider and can be accessed by clients via the Internet. This program is similar to features provided by application service providers (ASP), but the software is much different. Online accounting offers many of the same advantages boasted by accounting ASPs, including fast and easy access; security and database-management systems; extensive help files; and a low, per-month fee. Of course, as with most online start-ups there are drawbacks. Malicious hackers, heavy Internet traffic, disruptive "under construction" practices, and subpar customization tools are all drawbacks to this service. Service selection teams need to be aware that users will likely prefer to view the reports on the site through long-standing applications such as Adobe Acrobat Reader, and frequently, online accounting services lack navigation-friendly user interfaces.

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